Employment law specialist solicitors serving Dundee and Scotland
The Scottish Government are to scrap employment tribunal fees if said powers are devolved to Scotland from Westminster, however, such powers will only be transferred when it is “clear on how the transfer of powers and responsibilities".
The plan was announced in the government’s programme for 2015/16 with the details set to be negotiated by both governments with the Scottish Government wishing to scrap such fees to ensure that people have a greater access to justice.
Speaking on the matter the Scottish Government stated: “We will abolish fees for employment tribunals when we are clear on how the transfer of powers and responsibilities will work.
“We will consult on the shape of services that can best support people’s access to employment justice as part of the transfer of the powers of Employment Tribunals to Scotland.”
Since their introduction in July 2013, tribunal fees have been a fiercely debated issue with their induction being introduced in an attempt to reduce the backlog of employment claims and from needless or fraudulent claims making it through the court system. Under the new rules imposed by the Government, applicants had to pay £160 for lodging a claim, £230 for a hearing for the most basic claim and higher charges for a hearing with some hearings costing up to £950.
Since they were introduced such fees have been debated with many stating that the high cost of even launching a claim acted as a barrier to justice. Many respected organisations and inside groups such as Citizens Advice Scotland and a number of trade unions called for such fees to be scrapped. According to figures from the TUC there has been a dramatic drop in the number of tribunals in the last year. There has been a drop of 79% of the claims in the first year, with such reports having “no obvious explanation, other than the introduction of fees”. Trade union Unison even took legal action over the matter but were unsuccessful with the union losing their third case calling for a judicial review of the fees regime.
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said that regardless of what occurred it remained committed to scrapping any sort of employment fee to secure justice. In a statement a spokesman person said: “We will create a fairer country. We will promote a proper living wage, fair work and use new powers to improve the welfare system, mitigating some of the worst impacts of the UK Government’s cuts.”
Taking any sort of employment action can be an exceptionally daunting thought if it is against your current employers, however, if your working life is being made torturous by your employer or a co-member of your team can you really afford to not take legal action? If you have been discriminated against, overlooked for a promotion through no fault of your own or mistreated in the workplace as a result of your gender or any other reason, our team of solicitors can help. For guidance on beginning legal proceedings or for legal representation during an employment tribunal contact us today using our online contact form.